Paul Jacob

August 26, 2012

As we await the Republican and Democratic conventions and the subsequent autumn campaign about the future of the country, it’s a good time to reflect on where we are now.

So, where are we?

One simple but telling measure of a free country is whether a child can set up a lemonade stand without being arrested, closed down, or forced to break the piggy bank for a government permit. The much ballyhooed “War on Women” is a fiction, while the war on children, lemonade and early entrepreneurial efforts is exceedingly well-documented. Last week, protestors launched National Lemonade Freedom Day.

Also last week, my Common Sense e-letter focused on two events that place our modern society somewhere on the outskirts of banana republic moving at a high rate of speed toward a police state.

Fauquier County officials fined Martha Boneta, owner of Liberty Farms in Paris, Virginia, $5,000 for two unspeakable crimes against humanity. First, though she did have a permit to sell produce from her farm, she didn’t have the latest state-of-the-art permit required after yet additional regulations had been enacted. Second, without securing an event permit or any approval from government officials at all, this dangerous woman premeditatedly held a birthday party for a friend’s 10-year old daughter.

Dana Crow-Smith and her Christian group were recently ordered to stop giving away free bottled water in the 112-degree heat of downtown Phoenix by a Neighborhood Preservation Inspector. Seems she needs a vendor license, even though she hadn’t been vending.

A “Neighborhood Preservation Inspector”? How on earth will your community survive without such an official? Or do you already have one and just don’t know it because you’ve never committed the Good Samaritan crime of providing water to the hot and thirsty?

I only wonder how much the city of Phoenix pays in salary, health insurance and pension benefits for this important inspector.

I know in San Jose, California, according to a new study by the California Public Policy Foundation, the total cost of compensation for their average full-time city employee is a whopping $175,000 a year. Not the top compensation, mind you, but the average. No wonder, just months ago, 70 percent of voters in that city’s heavily Democratic electorate approved a citizen initiative to reform the pension system.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.